( www.osce.org ) - The OSCE should continue to play a major role in a future Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the future status process for Kosovo, said today.
Speaking to the OSCE Permanent Council, the Special Envoy said that his proposal for the future of the province envisioned an active role for the Organization. Kosovo is home to the largest of the OSCE's 19 field missions.
"The Organization has been involved with the Kosovo issue from the very beginning - for example, the Kosovo Verification mission was deployed back in 1998. Now we ask that the Organization keep its comprehensive presence with a robust field mission to support the work of the International Civilian Representative and European Security and Defense Policy Mission," he said.
The OSCE, given its expertise and institutional knowledge, would also likely be asked to certify future general and municipal elections, the Special Envoy said, adding that the Organization could also be involved in monitoring the implementation of the settlement in the area of cultural and religious heritage.
"In co-operation with the ESDP Mission, the Organization could also continue its work in the human rights and rule of law areas, even though capacity building is not part of my proposal as it is not related to the status," he said.
Mr. Ahtisaari noted that negotiations about the status would continue in coming days.
"These consultations are one more opportunity for both parties to make their points. I am willing to consider constructive amendments and to incorporate compromise agreements," he said. "However, my proposal can only provide the framework. Successful implementation will require time and can not happen without the co-operation of all of Kosovo's communities."
The Special Envoy had been invited to the Permanent Council by the OSCE's Spanish Chairmanship. The Organization's Chairman-in-Office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, is set to travel to Belgrade and Pristina next week.
The Permanent Council is the 56-country OSCE's main regular decision-making body. It meets once a week in Vienna to discuss current developments in the OSCE area and to make appropriate decisions.